Hot, young bands can often be a dime-a-dozen, but every so often there is one that really stands out from the pack. I’m saying right here and now that Mission Jupiter is something special, a band way ahead of the curve. Their sophomore album Talk to Me released on April 30th, and it is categorically amazing.
The band comes to us from Belarus. Their lineup includes Artyom Gylyakevich on bass and keys, Vladimir Shvakel on guitar, Eugene Zuev on drums, Nastia Shevtsova on vocals, and Dmitry Soldatenko on saxophone. Yes, they do have a full-time sax player.
Describing Mission Jupiter’s music is proving to be a difficult time. They certainly lean progressive and alternative in their overall sound, bringing elements of rock, pop, electronica, and jazz into play when they are appropriate. They insist on “musical liberalism” and cite science fiction as a huge influence over what they do, and that is definitely something that comes through in their music. However, their music is much more than the sum of its parts. The band has a vivid energy, almost cinematic or even arena in scale, that laces everything they do with vibrancy, power, and an entrancing aura.
What do I mean by that? Well, the band’s first album Architecture was a huge success in my eyes because it obviously contained unfettered joy and hope for the future after betrayal. It was all about moving on to the next thing, no regrets and no looking back. You could feel that raw drive throughout each song. Now, with Talk to Me, the band offers something more melancholy and pensive, yet somehow the album is even more soaring, unrelenting, and dreamier.
Examining what they do brings some understanding of this. Nastia has an unbelievable, crystal clear voice that simply makes this album feel larger than life; her vocal lines are stuffed full of emotion and calculated performance. She absolutely knows that she has talent, and isn’t afraid of that. Still, the band really brings it, too. Blaring bass, remarkable drums and beats, piercing and addictive keys, varied guitar tones, soulful guitar solos, electronic sweetness, and sorrowful yet pealing sax lines all come together into a punchy, powerful presentation. The album instantly grabs the listener by the throat, and doesn’t let go.
Talk to Me has real presence, and it begins from the very first track. “Billion Miles Away” will probably be one of my favorite songs of the year with its sauntering beat that transitions into a towering, melody heavy chorus that absolutely rocks. I can’t get enough; it always leaves my nerves tingling. “Blizzard” does the same thing to me with its amazing drums, haunting atmosphere, and sheer weightiness. “On My Own” is still another like this, and I especially love its edgier second half with plenty of distortion and fiery electronics. Even “Adziny Slach”, sung in the band’s native language, loses none of the authority and trancelike qualities of this band.
And just when you think the band has brought everything they can offer, the second half of the album begins. I feel like this part of the album is a bit heavier and maybe even darker. “My Hypocrisy” is a good example with its bleaker tone, saxophone lines of sadness, and choppy yet fantastic chorus. The single “Confession” finds itself here, too, being more of an acoustic ballad with melancholy and heart. It may have been a strange single to choose for this reason. It really doesn’t represent the album.
Yet, right after the slower, sadder song, the album launches itself again with “Perfect Reaction” and its voluptuous drums and unnerving vocals. “Waterfall” comes next with plenty of nostalgic sax, a tender and somehow familiar central melody, and feelings of finality. Yet, it isn’t the closer. The final track is “Jupiter’s Master”, which is purely instrumental. This eight-minute track is heavy, rocking, and winding, full of ethereal vocal accents, sweet keyboards, perfect transitions, and fantastic soloing. It’s a monster of a track to end the album.
Mission Jupiter are young, brilliant, and know how to deliver the goods. Talk to Me is a spellbinding masterpiece; each and every track is luminously composed and performed, and the balance they achieve between writing great songs and featuring technical prowess is mature and impressive. I simply cannot stop listening to it and I can’t get enough of its magnetic, fresh aura.
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